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Renewable Energy in Nigeria: Meaning, Uses, Challenges and Prospects

Renewable Energy in Nigeria

The penetration of renewable energy in Nigeria is still in its formative level, and its only source in the country is linked to hydro-power, as well as, biomass.

Wind and solar energy are said to have been deployed in just a minuscule amount. Going by the energy policies, it is revealed that, wind and solar energy generation projects in the country are in the planning process.

The study has it that, developments in solar as well as, wind energy are continually increasing, as the high potentials and benefits of these energy sources for Nigeria’s environment and society have been discovered.

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Renewable Energy in Nigeria: Meaning, Uses, Challenges and Prospects
Renewable Energy in Nigeria – Photo Source: https://worldofrenewables.com

What Is Renewable Energy?

It is that energy gotten from renewable resources, and these renewable resources are said to be naturally replenished on a human timescale, for example, sunlight, and wind, and rain, and tides, and waves, as well as, geothermal heat are some of the available resources.

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Out of about 198 million population of Nigeria, the country is only succeeded in supplying power to half of its citizens.

As at present, Nigeria is said to generate just a little amount of energy from its renewable sources, and these sources are hydropower, and solar, wind, and biomass.

However, the Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP), was in 2005, developed by the Energy Commission of Nigeria, which its idea suggestion was for the renewable energy policies and possible technologies with a view to using the same for the fulfillment of their goals. The target was to expand energy access to at least, 90 percent of the population of the country by the year, 2030.

It is believed that by then, the total generation of energy from renewable sources should be about 30 percent.

By the virtue of Nigeria’s geographical location, which is quite near to the equator, the country has what it takes, in terms of the potential to generate energy from solar.

Cities such as Lagos, and Abuja, and Benin City, and Port Harcourt, and Kaduna, as well as, Kano are currently powered streets lighting with solar energy.

For instance, Low Energy Designs, one company located in the United Kingdom, was actually contracted for the building of solar-powered street lights across the country. The project, which cost 7 million US dollars is expected to last at least twelve months and will cover over 300 km.

However, there is report making the round that  the World Bank is borrowing Nigeria the sum of $350 million to assist the country build a solar power grid by the year, 2023, and Nigeria has maintained that the development will help in the generation of power to hospitals, and rural areas, and schools, as well as households.

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Although, there has been enormous effort on the part of public and private agencies in the country to promote and as well, adopt the alternative energy sources in Nigeria, renewable energy, as a source of alternative energy, has been facing numerous challenges, and as a result, the complete penetration of this alternative source of energy has been hindered. Even power consumers in the remote areas within the country have no access to the abundance of solar.

The main challenge has been likened to the initial cost of setting up this power source. For instance, the average villager in the country, who is just a common farmer may not be able to afford the cost of acquiring all the components that are needed in order to generate energy that can power at least, 500W system.

This is because largely, the deep cycle batteries, used in setting up this alternative energy source, which is indispensable in an off-grid solution is highly costly.

Yet another challenge is the inadequacy in skilled labor. To install a renewable energy system is quite technical, and such installation requires the services of experts such as trained technicians.

Perhaps, this may be explained why a few renewable energy firms in the country have decided to establish renewable energy training academies within the country in recognition of the problem of lack of skilled labour.

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1. Solar Energy

Solar energy, for many years now, has been utilized in order to cook, and for food preservation, as well as, agricultural processes.

For example, in the year, 2016, the Nigerian President, Gen. Buhari had inaugurated Nigeria’s first ever solar power plant in Oyo state.

And in 2017, his government invested also about $20 million on solar energy projects in Nigeria. Renewable energy is said to be suitable in Nigeria, as an alternative source of energy due to favourable climate, and resources, as well as, economic plus societal conditions which are peculiar in Nigeria.

The Northern part of the country, for example, is said to have the highest potential for the alternative source of energy.

In fact, it has an average of solar insolation say, 2200 kWh/m^2. Then in the southern part of the country, it is about 1800 kWh/m^2.

The claim is that, with adequate power outputs, solar energy is likely to help Nigeria in the reduction of carbon from fossil-fueled energy generation.

Again, solar power is to also make provision for a reliable, and also a stable source of energy in the country both in the urban areas, as well as, in other locations so as to alleviate the resources-conflict, that is usually associated with oil.

2. Wind Power

Wind power is also another alternative source of energy, its turbine generation has been considered as another developing source of energy in the country.

The speeds of wind in Nigeria is said to be about 2 to 9.5 m/s. However, apart from wind power being very advantageous for instance, to rural and agricultural areas, it is also beneficial in Southeast with a wind speed of about 4 m/s, and in the North with a wind speed of about 6 m/s at a 10 hub height.

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The study has it that, developments in solar as well as, wind energy are continually increasing, as the high potentials and benefits of these energy sources for Nigeria’s environment and society have been discovered.

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